Our mission is to oversee and review all classroom and research projects involving the use of living vertebrate animals to ensure the humane care and use of animals in accordance with the Health Research Extension Act of 1985. Public law 99-158.
Ethical Treatment of Animals
Different members of our society hold widely diverging views about the relative value of animals compared to humans. These views may be held on moralistic or practical grounds. A majority of people value the practical aspects of using animals to benefit humans. These uses include food, clothing, companionship, work, sport, competition for space, investigation of the basic processes of life, disease and death. However, a majority of people also recognize that these uses may cause pain or distress to animals, and feel that humans have a moral obligation to minimize the consequences of their activities. Thus, the humane care and use of animals used for research, testing and training is considered a moral obligation by many people.
There are other reasons that animals used for research should be treated humanely. Pain and stress can drastically alter the physiologic state of animals. Distress results when animals are no longer able to adapt to changes in their environment or physiological condition and display maladaptive or abnormal responses. These responses are not predictable and thus represent an uncontrolled experimental variable. Numerous studies have shown that prevention of pain or distress results in improved experimental results. Simply said, good animal care and use is good science.
Finally, while not all people may agree with the above assessments, we do live in a democracy. The opinion of the majority is law. In the United States continued concern by the public and by scientific organizations over the humane care and use of animals has resulted in the creation of several sets of laws requiring that animals used in research, testing and training be cared for according to specific guidelines.